Tuesday, 19 April 2022 15:17

Standing Rock

Standing Rock

The Native American reservation stands as a searing metaphor for the evils of colonialism and capitalism with its dreadful legacy of forced religious conversion, language loss, cultural and environmental degradation, rampant alcoholism and a host of other social ills.

How is it that when we engineered the genocide of First Nation peoples . . . how is it that we didn't anticipate the current global crisis? How is it that we didn't have an inkling of the traditional wisdom of the 'barbarians' we were destroying, as we corralled the survivors in reservations . . . a wisdom that would have helped us to cherish the planet and avoid catastrophe?

Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.            - Chief Seattle, Duwamish

And yet, even today, Standing Rock reservation, with the nearby pipeline, became a symbol of what the Rev. Jesse Jackson has called 'environmental racism'. In hindsight we now see the eternal wisdom of Sun Bear and all the other great philosophers and sages of the Americas:

I do not think the measure of a civilization is how tall its buildings of concrete are, but rather how well its people have learned to relate to their environment and fellow man.
- Sun Bear, Chippewa

No Hunting is a bilingual photo-tanka sequence in Irish and English (5-7-5-7-7 syllables) by Gabriel Rosenstock in response to photographs taken in Native American reservations by Rhett Arens. It is downloadable here:

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Gabriel Rosenstock

Gabriel Rosenstock was born in postcolonial Ireland and is a poet, haikuist, tankaist, translator, playwright, novelist, short story writer and essayist.